Complete Count Roanoke

Click here to take the 2020 Census!

Census Day is April 1, 2020!

The City of Roanoke wants to ensure that all Roanokers are counted in the upcoming 2020 Census, so we’re participating in the Complete Count effort. That means we will be working to reach out to traditionally hard-to-count populations on why it’s important to get everyone to respond.

Community outreach through social media, traditional media, and other methods will ramp up in early 2020.

Note: The content of this page is drawn directly from the web pages.

What is a Hard-to-Count Population?

The Census Bureau defines Hard-to-Count populations as groups that have historically been less likely to respond to the census right away. Hard-to-Count populations include:

  • Young children.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Persons who do not speak fluent English.
  • The poor.
  • The homeless.
  • Undocumented immigrants.
  • Mobile individuals such as college students.
  • LGBTQ persons
  • Individuals who are angry at or distrustful of the government.

These two interactive maps.shows areas with Hard-to-Count populations..

Virginia count

What's the schedule?  

March 2020 

  • Postcards sent to most homes in the US. Households will be able to respond by internet or phone.
  • Letter with info to take survey online (the majority of people will get this) or Letter + Paper Survey. Additional letters and postcards will be sent throughout March to households who haven't responded.

April 1, 2020 Census Day!

April 2020 

  • Letter and paper questionnaire to non-respondents 
  • Yet another postcard reminder to non-respondents 

May – July

  • Non-response follow-up: Census enumerators visit addresses that did not complete a Census questionnaire and collect information at the door
  • Non-response follow-up re-interviews
Census undercount

Where are the Hard-to-Count populations in Roanoke?

The map to the left shows areas with various response rates. Darker blues indicate lower response rates.  Roanoke's most undercounted area is the Hurt Park neighborhood.  Gainsboro, Gilmer, Harrison, Melrose, Loudon, Villa Heights, Shenandoah, Belmont, Fallon, and Williamson Road have also had low response rates.

Census undercount key


The U.S. Constitution mandates a headcount every 10 years of everyone residing in the states and US territories, including people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, citizens, and noncitizens. The census determines the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative and school districts. The population totals also affect funding in our community, and data collected in the census help decision makers know how our community is changing. Approximately $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to communities each year. 

A complete count ensures that Roanoke receives federal funding based on an accurate population count. Most federal money comes to the city as community development funding that benefits Hard-to-Count populations the most.

Will the 2020 Census be the same as 2010?

There are some important changes in 2020: 

• We are building a more accurate address list and automating our field operations—all while keeping your information confidential and safe. 

• For the first time, you will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail. 

• We will use data that the public has already provided to cut down on in-person follow up visits to nonresponding households